On August 6, 1945, an American plane dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing 100,000 people and destroying much of the city.  Written one year later, John Hersey's book Hiroshima details the devastating impact of the bomb on six individuals, including a doctor, a widowed mother, and a German priest.  By telling their stories in detail, Hersey evokes for readers the horrifying, long-lasting effects of nuclear warfare. 

Hiroshima was one of the first works of so-called New Journalism, in which the techniques of fiction are applied to non-fiction writing.  Editions published after 1985 include an additional chapter that circles back on the six featured people to explore how the bomb affected their later lives.

“This private estate was far enough away from the explosion so that its bamboos, pines, laurel, and maples were still alive, and the green place invited refugees — partly because they believed that if the Americans came back, they would bomb only buildings; partly because the foliage seemed a center of coolness and life, and the estate’s exquisitely precise rock gardens, with their quiet pools and arching bridges, were very Japanese, normal, secure; and also partly (according to some who were there) because of an irresistible, atavistic urge to hide under leaves.”

John Hersey (1914-1993) was an American journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. He authored more than two dozen books, including Hiroshima, A Bell for Adano, The Child Buyer, and The Call. 

Published:  1946
Length:  152 pages
Set in:  Hiroshima, Japan